What crafts would you recommend for our weekly craft-y group hang? #Do It Yourself#advice#crafts#friendships September 22 2014 | Offbeat Editors offbeatbride Offbeat Home & Life runs these advice questions as an opportunity for our readers to share personal experiences and anecdotes. Readers are responsible for doing their own research before following any advice given here... or anywhere else on the web, for that matter. By: Ana Bastida – CC BY 2.0 I'm 30 now and figure it's about time I get myself some girlfriends. I moved to a new city two years ago and have, in the last month or so, brought up the number of females I am friendly with to a nice number of six. I want to start a once-a-week group where we can do crafty things and learn new skills. We are already planning on amigurumi dolls, and learning knitting, crocheting, and cake decorating. Any other fun home-y crafty skills we should put on the docket? -Melodee Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo PREVIOUS What are some fictional books that feature realistic and healthy couples? NEXT Want to get to know your neighbors? Start a crazy-stupid, summer-long, front-yard project Show/Hide comments [ 42 ] Cross stitching can be fun (and there are a ton of patterns available online, subversive and otherwise), and I understand that quilting lends itself pretty well to big groups (Quilting bees, yaahh!). Scrap-booking could work too if you have a lot of photos and mementos you might want to organize into one place. Reply I'm quite fond of needle-felting. You can make really simple, really cute things in about 15 minutes, or work on more detailed creations over a longer period of time. Crafternoons are lots of fun, and a great way to bond. 🙂 Often my friends will just have open crafternoons where everyone brings around whatever they're working on (be it costume, prop, or just some sewing that needs doing) and hangs out. If you feel like a bit more of an excursion, check if there are any pottery centres in your area. Some will offer one-day workshops where you can paint a platter, vase, whatever, and they will fire it in the kiln for you. Reply I second needle felting, it's like magic how a puff of wool becomes a thing in your hands! Reply Around where I live, these wine tasting & portrait painting classes have become quite popular. Usually the portraits have a theme like make a painting of your dog , or a pretty flower. But it's really all about socializing. Reply I've been making beaded spiders for Halloween, they are pretty and easy to do! I've had my nieces make them the past two years when they visit. Just google for directions and the colors and designs are endless. Reply This made me think about having seasonal crafting. For example, you could decorate pumpkins for Halloween / Thanksgiving. Make wreaths. Make ornaments. etc. Then move on to heart-themed items, bunny stuff, stars & stripes… My aunt is part of a weekly group where everyone brings their soft materials to work on. She quilts, but some people bring in knitting/crochet, needlepoint, I think there is even a spinner in her group. I would think you could make some sort of group Pinterest board where people could share pins of things they want to try. And that would be a great way to get others involved; if you meet a new awesome person, let them know about the Pinterest board and then share it with an invitation to join. Reply So if you're open to low-skill based things, coloring is a GREAT way to let your mind wander and chat without having to be too focused. I'm thinking of starting a coloring book club for my neighborhood. Reply I think I want to join a coloring book club now after reading this. I would even supply wine and cookies! Reply Holy shit! COLORING! That's totally a craft I can do. Why did I never think of that!? Reply Oh HELLO! Color Me Drunk: A Drinking and Drawing Activity Book I'm totally buying this. Reply About 2 years ago when a group of friends and I starting going on cheap cabin weekend getaways (the kind where you cook great food, theres no tv or internet, and you drink way too much and go hiking hunover) I printed out a bunch of coloring pages and brought markers and colored pencils. Talk about relaxing!! It was a hit! Some of my favorites are: Abstracts – http://www.art-is-fun.com/free-abstract-coloring-page.html Color-able quotes: http://www.doodle-art-alley.com/all-quotes-coloring-pages.html Frames and such: http://www.doodle-art-alley.com/coloring-page-templates.html Also doesn't this picture just make you WANT to color again?? https://www.flickr.com/photos/vtchewbecca/3908259224/ Reply Obsessed with coloring! I still use crayons but mostly into colored pencils and sometimes markers. My favorite thing to color is mandalas. I find the patterns very soothing. You can find tons free online. https://www.google.com/search?q=coloring+mandalas&rlz=1T4GGNI_enUS545US546&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=rw8jVNS4O4qhyATct4KYDA&ved=0CCIQsAQ&biw=1280&bih=897 had to share this http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=adult+colouring+books&tag=offbeatbrid0a-20amp;index=aps&hvadid=33815667475&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=2006826600045183401&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_7yvrscmi9u_b and the Alphonse Mucha page has posted some print-out-to-color pages of his work – really inspirational! Reply Try this one!!! http://amzn.com/1523949295 Reply Yeah!! I've been colouring the past while, and having a heap of fun doing it too! Dover Publishing has some great books. Reply Edible crafts because yum. Also I would suggest body products so you can share oils, glycerin, and other ingredients. Have fun and share your results! Reply Waaah! I miss my crafty friends who moved away! 🙁 Most of them do yarn crafts, some of us do embroidery, a couple do beading/jewelry and make beads and stuff out if polymer clay, I've recently made a couple wreaths, most of us love scrapbooking and a couple love to draw and/or paint… I've been wanting to make a fairy garden since I learned about them! Just let yourselves get lost on Pinterest. 😉 Reply How about jewelry making or fascinator making. If you do the fascinator making after the jewelry you will have loads of sparkly bits to put on the fascinators. Or how about sugar craft? Basically making small figurines out of sugar paste for cakes and cupcakes etc. Reply Looking forward a few weeks, make your jack-o-lanterns together and then roast the seeds! Reply Making cards, scrapbooking, holiday crafts. I'm a baker, so at least once a year I do cookie decorating. I bake lots of sugar cookies ahead of time, then mix and bottle royal icing the morning of. Usually there is at least one toddler who gets to decorate with us. (If you're going to have a small child 'help', I highly recommend bottles instead of piping bags. I also recommend giving them a small plate of sprinkles instead of letting them dump an entire container on one cookie.) Our crafting group has been meaning to try a pinterest party and just have been to busy this summer. Everyone brings some kind of food thing they pinned and haven't tried yet, and you pick a few crafts everyone wants to try. Then you get to snack on varying levels of edible food while you fail at poorly explained pinterest crafts. Reply You mention being in a city (as opposed to a rural area) so you might have a glass studio in town. If you can find a glass fusing class, you can make pendants and ornaments VERY easily. In Portland, there's Aquila Glass School, which allows people to use the studio for free and pay only for materials/kiln time. Pendants are $2. Add the $1 for the metal bail to be able to wear it and you've got a pretty craft done for $3. Reply Cross stitch! Easy to do and you could finish a small design in one sitting. Alternatively, start a big project and enjoy stitching and chatting! Buying a kit would give you all the supplies you need or download a pattern and get the thread etc yourself. There are LOADS of awesome patterns that can be downloaded from Etsy, but I might be a bit biased *cough cough* 🙂 Reply I would recommend Cross stitch Needle Felting Scrapbooking Quilting Embroidery Reply If you don't have the time or energy to prep something specific, another less formal option sometime (which I've done at one of these crafty groups) was everybody BYO. Everybody brought whatever project(s) they were currently working on – knitting, crocheting, scrapbooking, quilting, etc – and people would inevitably look over each other's shoulder and ask, "So, how do you do that? Can you show me?" Reply English paper piecing! You can easily learn to do this in one session. You can make a quick flower out of hexagons and use it for decorating things (pillows, bags, clothing, etc) or make throw pillow covers or something like that. Applique/Embroidery/cross stitch– fun for making decorative objects and for decorating things you already have, not really hard to learn. The place I work had an applique/embroidery class with a really cool designer, Alison Glass and I'm kinda fangirling out on all of her stuff right now. (http://alisonglass.bigcartel.com/product/new-river-embroidery-sampler) It was easy and fun. Also check out nuno felting, it's pretty simple and doesn't need a ton of fancy supplies. Mostly just a pool noodle, bubble wrap, and soapy water to go with your fiber and chiffon scarf. Reply I was in a Scrapbooking club for awhile; super fun! We would all pool our stuff so and work on different types of scrap books. It was fun to learn about each other's lives that way as well. Could also look into Canning. It's great for long term and inexpensive if you grow your own produce. My grandma taught me to make jam when I was little girl and think it would be fun to share that recipe with a group! Reply I have a group of friends that I get together with for crafts about once a month for book/movie/craft club (this is where we "read" a book, watch the movie based on it, and make a craft that can be semi associated with the movie). This month we're making fairy wings for Halloween and watching A Midsummer Night's Dream. We made hair fascinators one month with the Great Gatsby. We made cinnamon Christmas ornaments and watched A Christmas Carol. Having a theme to go along with helps us decide what we want to make. Reply Ooh, good call! I used to be in a book group and we read 'Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe', then made all the recipes from the back of book and had a feast while we watched the film. Reply If you don't want to end up with a lot of stuff (aka clutter) after a few months, consider making crafts that become things you can donate to charity. Chemo caps for cancer patients (web searches will turn up TONS of free patterns for knitted, crocheted, & sewn patterns) & blankets for Project Linus http://projectlinus.org/ or for animal shelters are just two that my mom & I have worked on. All can be made out of scraps & inexpensive materials too 🙂 Reply Ooh, this is great, I couldn't recommend doing this highly enough! we started running a craft group for a bunch of people about two years ago now and it's still going well. We have some weeks where we have an "organised" (using that word loosely!) craft and some weeks where people fetch anything they might already be working on. We've included a whole range of things, not just fabric/sewing stuff because we have quite a wide range of interests between us. We also try to do things that work out quite cheaply and can use materials that would go for recycling, or things in the stash that's in our group craft box. Some things we've had so far- . wet felting (messy but fun) . needle felting .pumpkin carving .tie dye/bleaching t-shirts .clay .hamma beads .card making/scrap booking .carving (wood) .bead and wire work .embroidery/sewing/cross stitch .crochet . paper mache (masks – so much fun!) . basket making (sets + instructions bought online) . paper weaving . snow globes / a whole range of Xmas decorations (glittery dinosaurs and dinosaur snow globes were my personal favourite 🙂 ) .quilling .origami That's not even an exhaustive list, bit I'm aware this is turning into a stupidly long comment…. Reply I love crafts and I would do them so much more if I didn't have to clean up after myself! Here are some that I've enjoyed doing in the past… macrame necklaces candle making massage bars (like from Lush) out of beeswax, olive oil, and cocoa butter making soap sewing (simple stuff like aprons or pillows) making beads/small sculpture with Fimo/Sculptey polymer clay tie dye wreath making (a new one for each season!) making seasonal decorations Reply I totally second the soap. A friend and I just had a weekend of making melt-and-pour soap and it was a blast. I collect shaped silicone moulds (because who doesn't want dinosaur bone ice cubes or might find a use for them?) but we also found some cheap silicone loaf pans and muffin tins. Smaller ones are ready faster. We bought the soap bases from Michaels with a coupon and we made a TON of soaps with what we had. You might find people selling their stuff on craigslist, etc, for cheap too. We had minimal prior knowledge so we just messed around trying different additives based on what we found online or in books. Even if it doesn't turn out perfect, it's still a whole lot of fun to make a soap which you can then use or gift. Reply A small group of lady friends and I started "Pinterest Ladies Night" Where we pin fun crafts to a group board as we're on Pinterest, then pick one or two to do, accompanied by a drink (usually a recipe also found via pinterest). Most of ours have centered on those easier to do crafts so that no matter our skill level we can accomplish something. Sometimes they are seasonal (we love halloween!) and sometimes not. Some of the most popular have been wearables – like any of those "Make this out of a t-shirt!" crafts or t-shirt mods. We've also some facial scrubs and a homemade bug repellant that actually worked well! I think keeping it simple is key – and you can always add more complex crafts later! But right now when you are forming this club, you want to keep it light and as least pressure as possible so your friends come back for more fun! Reply Hama or perler beads Needle felting Card making Art journalling Prayer flags Magic wands When I lead an after-school arts and crafts program, the most popular session was always the "go wild" one: I would haul out all my leftover craft supplies, bits and bobs from around the house, plus things like wire and glue guns and I would let the kids make whatever they wanted. Creativity ran wild, and it was nice to see old toilet paper tubes/Christmas ornaments/random glitter foam get re-purposed. This one works especially well if you have friends with diverse crafting interests. Reply In addition to all of the above, there's a thing in my city that is a drink & paint night – it is held at a bar, and they basically give a little painting lesson. Everyone gets their own little canvas, and there are paintbrushes and paints and whatnot. I haven't done it myself, but my friends who have gone said it was pretty fun Reply Jewelry making seems to be the fall-back for my friends and I on craft night. Most of us have a lot of beads and gew-gaws that we can swap out and turn into random earrings, bracelets and necklaces. Reply I'm just going to toot my own horn here and say that I've got basically the top paper snowflake making tutorial on the internet (ah, it's the little achievements in life…), and winter is coming: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-6-Pointed-Paper-Snowflakes/ Reply We used to hold group crafting nights and take turns at teaching the rest of the group new projects. And then it turned into what became affectionately known as "the sweat shop" Friends were throwing bridal showers and needed help to make the favors or decorations, I wanted help to make bunting for my sons party. And we were all willing to pitch in our skills and help each other out. The only rule being, if you are requiring a craft be done for you- you provide the food!!! Reply Ooh, when I took an art class in high school, one of my favorite days was when we had stacks of different colors of construction paper (lots of recycling here, too) and made little collages on postcard-sized card stock. You can cut the card stock yourself to size, and decorate it for little greeting cards. I think this would be cute for "happy halloween" cards or thanksgiving. I made a couple of fun things and just gave them to friends, but post cards is more purpose driven Also, for clay: I bought Apoxie sculpt clay for a costume. It's awesome because it's the same texture as clay (you mix two things together) and I really like the forgiveness of clay. But then it air dries for a couple hours and becomes rock hard, and you can paint it like clay. So all the cool parts of clay without the baking. Reply A word of warning re amigurumi. it requires concentration x10 My friend and I used to go to a crochet club and have a drink and a natter whilst crocheting that weeks project, we always went hideously wrong and got told off by the old ladies who ran the class for not concentrating and counting enough. and they were generally pretty simple projects. I can only do amigurumi if I count out loud! Perhaps start with granny squares? On Ravelry there are some really cool toys made up of lots of African Flower motifs. Otherwise, how about some origami? or salt dough? cross stitch is also good and already mentioned If you want to do something donatable crocheted premature baby clothes are good (and small so really quick!) Reply Temari, the Japanese art of creating decorative yarn balls, is one of my fave fiber arts. The supplies are cost effective, you don't need to learn how to use any special equipment, and you can create some beautiful variations on simple patterns once you get the hang of it. Reply Okay, here are some 1970's-era crafty blasts from my past that are still doable today (please Google for more info): . makit & bakit sun catchers . shrink plastic mobiles/decorations . candlewicking . beaded sequin ornaments . decoupage . loom knitting . plastic lace lanyard braiding . cinnamon clay ornaments And though it might not be quite as retro: . paracord crafts When in doubt, thumb through a crafts magazine, or request a catalog from a crafts distributor, like Herrschner's for ideas. Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. 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